That was a really strange game yesterday. If absolutely predictable given what the Bairns fans had to say.
Falkirk kept possession really well. But we were defensively better and showed more quality in the final third. That's what wins you games. Not just knocking the ball about harmlessly.
I was amazed by how little a threat Falkirk posed. Nesbitt and Telfer aside there wasn't one player in navy who played well. Michael Ruth looks like the sort of striker we get on loan every season - he works hard, his touch is good, he links play quite nicely. But he doesn't really ever look like he's going to score. McGuffie absolutely stank the place out and I actually thought he had been hooked at half-time, McDaid didn't look on it and - without wanting to repeat what every Bairns fan had said - they looked a lot better with Aidan Keena on the park. Omperon looked okay in flashes I suppose, but no more than that. Hetherington was absolutely horrific.
There was a massive gulf in physicality between the teams. I wouldn't go as far as saying we bullied Falkirk, but the physical disparity was a bit like playing Rangers 'Colts' again. Some technically decent, tricky players. But they were almost all easily bumped off the ball by guys like Carsy, McGeever and Buchanan.
Listening to Sheerin's post-match would be a major red flag for me if I was a Bairn. He still talks like a development coach. Falkirk need someone to stand there with a bit of arrogance and hammer into players that they should be winning this league, and anything else is a failure. He didn't look to be that fussed because there were aspects of the performance he enjoyed. Can you imagine the likes of Ian McCall giving it that sort of patter after a home defeat to Sons?
Anyway. Enough about them. Onto us.
For the first 25 minutes or so we looked quite content to keep a solid shape and Falkirk seemed to have no real urgency about them to try and break it down.
From about the half hour mark however they upped it and we became dreadful on the ball. Falkirk created a good few openings, although didn't really force Sam Ramsbottom into a major save - with Paddy Boyle's off the line clearance from Aidan Nesbitt the closest they came.
The second-half started in the same way. Falkirk had plenty of the ball, we weren't great when we had it, and they created a few openings - but nothing too dangerous.
Then one goal kick, one excellent flick from Conner Duthie and the world's slowest finish from Kalvin Orsi later we took the lead. Orsi's finish looks a whole lot better on the highlights than it did at the time. I actually think the criticism of Mutch is a bit harsh. There is barely any power on the shot, but it knocks the post on the way in. It's well placed.
That looked to kick us on, and from that point onwards I thought we were good value for the victory. Callum Wilson's goal is superb, and credit to Carlo Pignatiello for the ball in to Wilson. It's very well weighted. The anger about a potential foul from the Bairns fans is mentioned in the highlights, but that's certainly not what I heard. The Falkirk fans around me were more seething at the ease at which we'd scored a second goal.
After that we looked comfortable and, had there not been a wild amount of injury time after a really nasty looking head injury to Paul Dixon, would've more than merited the clean sheet.
Performance wise Gregor Buchanan and Ryan McGeever were absolutely superb, and I thought Paddy Boyle had another very solid game. His positioning was excellent and he was dominant in the air. Edin Lynch looked decent enough - and offered a threat down the right. Ahead of them Stuart Carswell had another very solid game; and the introduction of all three subs made a difference at the right time. Ryan Schiavone especially stretched a tiring Bairns defence well.
Further forward I've taken a real shine to Conner Duthie. He's just such a handful to play against, all full of aggressive running and pace. I wasn't sure why Duffy signed him, I wasn't totally sure why Faz kept him. But fair play. A pre-season and some gametime and he's been like a new signing.
We've seen quite a few sides to this Dumbarton squad. We dominated Clyde and East Fife (two teams who we looked far stronger than). We were clinical and well organised against Montrose and Falkirk (two teams who, on paper, looked stronger than us). We showed a good fighting spirit against Airdrie, got punished for not being well organised or clinical against Cove and were played off the park by a far better Queen's Park team.
I've no idea what that means for this season. The league is ridiculously tight. But it's night and day from turning in the same performance week-in week-out under Duffy last year. So massive kudos to Faz and Franko for that. I'm enjoying watching Sons again for the first time since the end of the 2018-19 season.